Matias Airs APB at 140; Challenges Lopez, Haney, Prograis & Tank
Regarding the junior welterweight division, there may not be a more exciting and ferocious fighter than reigning IBF champion Subriel “El Orgullo de Maternillo” Matias (20-1, 20 KOs). The hard-hitting fighter from Puerto Rico is on a quest to be the top dog. He’s hungry to fight anyone who considers themselves the best in and around 140, and that includes fighters such as WBO 140-pound champion Teofimo Lopez (19-1, 13 KOs), WBC junior welterweight champion Regis Prograis (29-1, 24 KOs), and unified lightweight champion Devin Haney (30-0, 15 KOs).
CALLING OUT ALL COMERS
On the undercard of David Benavidez versus Demetrius Andrade, Matias defended the IBF 140-pound title with a sixth-round stoppage over previously unbeaten mandatory challenge Shohjahon Ergashev. Following his victory, the defending champion laid down the gauntlet, challenging several fighters to step up to the plate.
(translated from English) “Teofimo Lopez, Regis Prograis, (Devin) Haney, Gervonta (Davis), if you want this, I’m here.”
2023 has been a breakout year for El Orgullo de Maternillo. He won the then-vacant IBF belt with a fifth-round stoppage over Jeremias Nicholas Ponce in February 2023. The win over Ergashev was on a pay-per-view card, exposing Matias to a greater audience. Now, the IBF champion wants even more significant fights for himself in 2024.
THE BEST POSSIBLE SCENARIO
Fights with either Lopez or Davis seem very unlikely. Neither have expressed any desire to get in the ring with the ferocious IBF champion. Besides, their representatives probably view Matias as high risk/low reward.
But of the other names Matias mentioned, Prograis and Haney, are the most noteworthy. Matias has bashed both fighters, claiming he would knock Prograis out, and has called Haney a fighter with no heart.
On December 9, Prograis will defend the WBC junior welterweight title against Haney. If things were fair, the winner of that upcoming contest would fight Matias in what would be a unification contest in either 2024 or early in 2025.
It will be interesting to see who answers the challenge. For Matias, he’s not turning anything down but his collar.